Raising Children With Character
Raising children with good character has probably never been more difficult. There are more single parent and dual wage families than ever before. Mass media, the Internet, violent video games, and a slew of other factors make parenting especially challenging today. Do you wonder what your children will be like when they become adults? One of the very best things you can do is to set a good example. Don’t worry that your children don’t seem to listen to you, worry that they are always watching you. What are you inadvertently teaching your children?
What generalizations could they logically draw about your character and the world as a whole from your behavior and the things you say? It’s worth considering what type of example you’re setting. Children look to parents for clues on how to behave and what is or isn’t appropriate.
It’s About Relationships
While there are many books available on managing and disciplining children, real influence comes from having a strong relationship with your children. If your child is confident that you love them, then the example you set and the words you speak will be taken more seriously. Children feel loved when they are understood, have unconditional acceptance, and know they are the most important things in your life. Ask yourself:
1. How many details do you know about your child’s preferences? Do you know their favorite foods, TV shows, names of friends, musical preferences, and names of teachers?
2. What do you actually know about their friends? What do you know about their families? How well does your child get along with their friends? What do they do together when you’re not around?
3. What does your child do on the Internet? Do they have a Facebook page or email account?
4. How well is your child doing in school? What are your child’s favorite and least favorite subjects?
What You Can Do
There are additional steps you can take to instill good values in your children.
Fortunately, plenty of opportunities present themselves that will allow you to teach your children good values. Take advantage of these tips:
1. Make parenting important. You’re busy. All parents are. But being busy isn’t the same as being a good parent. Provide the time and environment your child needs to thrive.
2. Be an example of the values you wish to instill in your child. Behave the way you want them to behave.
3. Take every opportunity to discuss your values. When you see something on TV, the news, or something comes up in everyday life, talk to your child about the issue as it relates to your own personal beliefs. Let them know what you think is right and wrong.
4. Praise your child when they exhibit positive qualities. Rewarding good behavior with praise is a staple of psychology.
5. Correct inappropriate behavior immediately. It you let it slide, you’re implicitly telling your child that it’s okay. Sometimes it’s easy to look the other way, but it’s not better.
6. Get more involved in your child’s life. Show some interest and participate more. You’re probably short on time, but pick an activity that’s really meaningful to your child.
7. Spend more time together and really talk. Talk with your child and listen more than you talk. Seek to strengthen your bond. Tell your child that you love them. Raising children with good character is challenging today. There are many potentially negative influences working against you. Children require a good example, love, and your time and attention. If you’re willing to provide these things, you are likely to raise children that demonstrate your high values.